I decided to add one more photo taken in Colorado. However, the subject of this photo has a strong connection to my plans to live in Japan, 3 months at a time.
Casual visitors to Japan cannot gain access to mobile phone networks via regular cell phone contracts, and Japan no longer allows prepaid phones to be purchased anonymously in Japan (something to do with trying to limit criminal activity). The common choice for travelers who desire access to a cell phone network in Japan is to rent a phone for several dollars a day and then pay a rather high per minute charge. This is not so practical for lengthy visits.
I found one British company with an office in the US that gets around Japan’s mobile phone limitations in a creative manner. They sell you a Japanese phone outright, which includes a year’s rental of a Japanese phone number. The phone is yours to keep, and you can use the initially assigned number indefinitely. However, you will have to pay an additional $100 to keep the number each subsequent year that you use the phone. The convenience of maintaining the same number for business cards and contacts, as well as never having to rent a phone in Japan seems well worth it to me.
The cost per minute for outgoing calls is not cheap, but it is in line with or lower than other per minute rental phone options in Japan. And of course, I won’t have to pay a daily, weekly, or monthly rental fee for the phone. Additionally, all incoming calls, whether from Japan or outside of Japan, are free of charge with this service.
I will speak more about my experiences with this mobile phone solution for non-residents in Japan in upcoming episodes of the Savage Snow Podcast, available at both SavageJapan.com and SavageSnowPodcast.com.
Photo Details: This is the Japanese market Panasonic 706P for Softbank that I had delivered to my home in Colorado. The photo was taken on my west facing deck in Summit County. $179 got me this phone along with an included 1 year “ownership” of a Japanese telephone number.
At present, UK’s Mobal only offers the phone in Mirror Blue (ミラーブルー). Hopefully, the bright color will make it harder to lose or misplace.
If you want to read more about this Japanese mobile phone option, Here is a link to the company that sells these phones for use by foreigners in Japan through an agreement with SoftBank.
UPDATE: I have become aware that Mobal in the UK has stopped offering their unique “Buy a Phone/Rent the Number” plan for Japan through their website. The previous link now connects to a typical (and significantly more costly) daily rental plan.
However, Mobal’s original plan I wrote about can be found here on SkyMall’s website. My first thought was that SkyMall has an old product listing on their site that is no longer valid. But when I called SkyMall and asked about the product and expressed my concern that it may be an out of date listing, the person on the phone seemed confidant it was a valid item and could still be purchased through them. It is possible that Mobal is keeping that offer available through SkyMall, but I am not fully confidant that success will be experienced if you try to buy one of the phones there. The purchase may be canceled along the way, but maybe not.
Please let me know if you are successful in an attempt to buy one of these phones through SkyMall. I will update this posting if I learn more from anyone.
Grab anywhere on map to scroll around Buffalo Mountain, seen in the background of this photo.
Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.